I love steam

Small painting from 2018 that was on display at Etruria Industrial Museum. I used an image off the Internet to work on. I think it was from a photo of a pumping station in Derbyshire? I loved trying to get the metallic reflections. I looked at the price and I wad only selling it for £25! The amount of work I put in means I constantly undersell myself, but people just don’t seem to have money for art these days. As to what it is I think it’s a regulator? Ith weights hold the arms down if it starts to spin too fast?

Balsa Wood models

I went up to Burslem School of Art today and after looking around downstairs we went and had a look at the first floor. There was a lot of work by a local school. There were also these train engine models that had been made of balsa wood.

I don’t know their history but one has a named City of Stoke-on-Trent. If my hubby has been there he would have known what type of engine it was and who originally made it. He’s very good at recognising them.

Art for sale

I have four new paintings up for sale at Etruria Industrial Museum cafe. This is Etruria, Stoke on Trent, Staffordshire. This Saturday and Sunday there is a steaming weekend at the Flint mill when the Steam engine that was used to provide power to grind bone and flint to be added to clay to make fine bone china. Come along and see the working steam engine and maybe stop for a cup of tea in the café if you happen to be near Stoke on Trent.

Train memory

When I was young trains were still pulled by steam engines. That’s right, I’m that old!

Our town station had a circular wooden booking hall and you walked down steps to the platforms. It was eventually demolished and a concrete station was built to replace it. If we wanted to go anywhere we had to go via Birmingham New Street. Apparently our town was almost chosen for the main station in the Midlands but Birmingham got it.

Our trips included travelling to Blackpool and to the Isle of Wight. We didn’t have a car then so any distances would have to be on a train or on a coach (coaches were better in some ways because they came back later than trains). I remember the Blackpool trip because we went up Blackpool Tower (looking a lot like the Eiffel Tower, but on top of a building). When we got to the viewing platform on the top the waves on the sea looked almost stationary. It looked weird. My mom told me she had once taken a plane ride around the tower in a tiny plane! I remember Blackpool pleasure Beach. Its the funfair on the ‘front’, including a ghost train and a big dipper roller coaster at that time I think, it has probably changed a lot now.

Then home on the steam train and a trolley bus (powered by overhead electric cables) home. I don’t remember arriving at home, I must have fallen asleep.

Etruria Flint Mill

I added my easle yesterday. Today I’m showing you my easle two years ago, I did a painting of Etruria Flint Mill. It’s also called Jessie Shirley’s Bone and Flint mill I think? It’s the only working Steam driven Flint mill in the country and the flints and bone  were crushed and ground using the power of the steam driven beam engine there.

The buildings are part of Etruria Industrial Museum, a complex of cafe, the museum displays, and the Flint mill on the Trent and Mersey and Cauldon Canals at Etruria, Stoke on Trent. I’m not sure of its opening times. But once a month it used to be fired up and you could watch the fly wheel rotating round and the pans where the flints were ground rumbling as the engine turns them. Its amazing to see the industrial archeology of the potteries in action.

Meanwhile in hubby’s world..

Double ‘O’ gauge Station with a green LMS ginty engine, 060. Model, night time view.

It’s just on a small piece of board but it’s got two platforms and an engine shed waiting for trains to enter for repairs and maintenance. Behind the platform stand beer barrels waiting to be loaded. This would be a small country town station, perhaps in Devon, although LMS trains would usually be found all over the country and were used for shunting local freight, acting as pilot engines that ran in front of main engines to assist them on steep sections of track. They were also engines for passenger trains. With the 060 wheel set up (no leading wheels, six main wheels and no trailing wheels) they could get round twisting tracks easier.

The board is too small to have moving engines, but it’s an idea of how a station would have been set up in the past.

Model trains….


My hubby collects n gauge and oo gauge model trains and has set up a layout to play with them. He knows that this is an 044 side tank M7, southern railway engine…. just from looking at a photo. He said its an old fashioned steam engine that was introduced in about 1964. I find it fascinating that steam engines are still being used across the world. Maybe they will be used for decades to come? His layout is basically an oval with a siding. When it’s set up I will add a photo. The layout had been stored with cobwebs and possibly a spider or two for the last few years, but we’ve decided to release it into the wild (of the garden shed). It is about to become friends with the hedgehogs and the stray cat. I hope it survives. 

A drawing of a steam engine


I like to try and sketch things when I’m visiting places, and this is my attempt at a steam engine when we were visiting. Middleport pottery in August 2018.i don’t know why I thought it was bad, it doesn’t look too awful now in hindsight. I can be too critical of myself sometimes. It’s a bit wonky but when you are trying to draw a moving bit of machinery it’s not easy. Anyway I’m publishing it, so I’ve forgiven myself for my mistakes.

Black ink pen on cartridge paper, it’s probably in one of my numerous sketchbooks, somewhere in the pile of drawings and sketches I have built up over the years.